Minnesota Vikings’ 2020 schedule breakdown

Week 1, Sunday, Sept. 13, 12 p.m. vs. Green Bay Packers

Series: 54-62-3

Last matchup: Packers 23, Vikings 10 (2019)

Skinny: The Vikings could not find a way to beat Green Bay last season, but don’t expect that trend to continue into 2020. The Packers went 13-3 in 2019 and made it to the NFC Championship game, but the Packers were not as good as their record would indicate, as evidenced by the fact they were outgained by about seven yards per game on average (345.5 to 352.6). Plus, Minnesota added key players early in the draft that could contribute early and Green Bay did not, so that could be the difference in the game.

Our pick: Win. 1-0.

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Week 2, Sunday, Sept. 20, 12 p.m. at Indianapolis Colts

Series: 7-17-1

Last matchup: Colts 34, Vikings 6 (2016)

Skinny: After going 7-9 in 2019, many seem to think the Colts could be a bounce-back team in 2020 after the addition of Philip Rivers. Here is the problem with that line of logic: Rivers was not a good quarterback last season and he is not getting any younger. The Vikings will have a better roster and better quarterback play in this game and that will be enough to get the win.

Our pick: Win. 2-0.

 

Week 3, Sunday, Sept. 27, 12 p.m. vs. Tennessee Titans

Series: 9-4

Last matchup: Vikings 25, Titans 16 (2016)

Skinny: This game will be a favorite for those who love old school NFL football, regardless of the result. With a stingy defense and a human battering ram known as Derrick Henry, the Titans have a clear identity after their appearance in the AFC Championship game and will be a tough out for any opponent. Neither team pulls away in this one, but Tennessee does just enough to beat the Vikings at their own game.

Our pick: Loss. 2-1.

 

Week 4, Sunday, Oct. 4, 12 p.m. at Houston Texans

Series: 4-0

Last matchup: Vikings 31, Texans 13 (2016)

Skinny: Deshaun Watson has the ability to take this game over and lead Houston to victory, but he can’t do it every week. Even though the Texans are generally a playoff team, they make a ton of errors and their defense has not been great in the past few seasons. Houston makes this one a game late, but the Vikings make fewer mistakes and Kirk Cousins has a productive day and leads Minnesota to victory.

Our pick: Win. 3-1.

 

Week 5, Sunday, Oct. 11, 7:20 p.m. at Seattle Seahawks

Series: 5-12

Last matchup (road): Seahawks 37, Vikings 30 (2019)

Skinny: Every year it seems like the Vikings travel to the Pacific Northwest to play a primetime game against the Seahawks and this year is no different. Russell Wilson has yet to lose to Minnesota in his career, and while the Vikings probably have the better overall roster, it is a tall order to beat him under the lights at CenturyLink Field. Minnesota loses a close one in Seattle.

Our pick: Loss. 3-2.

 

Week 6, Sunday, Oct. 18, 12 p.m. vs. Atlanta Falcons

Series: 20-11

Last matchup: Vikings 28, Falcons 12 (2019)

Skinny: Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are always going to be a threatening offensive duo until proven otherwise, but they alone will not be able to win this game for Atlanta. Minnesota’s offense should be able to use the running game to eat up clock in this one and its defense should be able to play with a lead and make Ryan’s day uncomfortable.

Our pick: Win. 4-2.

 

Week 8, Sunday, Nov. 1, 12 p.m. at Green Bay Packers

Series: 54-62-3

Last matchup (road): Packers 21, Vikings 16 (2019)

Skinny: Beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers once is one thing but twice is too much to ask for. Green Bay has the ability to sustain drives with its running game and while Rodgers is no longer at his peak, good luck beating him in Lambeau. The Vikings will be competitive in this game, but Green Bay does enough to even the 2020 season series.

Our pick: Loss. 4-3.

 

Week 9, Sunday, Nov. 8, 12 p.m. vs. Detroit Lions

Series: 76-39-2

Last matchup: Vikings 20, Lions 7 (2019)

Skinny: After a tough loss to the Packers, the Vikings will be hungry for another win and they will get it against the Lions. The raucous crowd at U. S. Bank Stadium will be in full force against Detroit to make sure Minnesota does not fall to .500. The Vikings rebound and get the job done over Matt Patricia’s squad.

Our pick: Win. 5-3.

 

Week 10, Monday, Nov. 16, 7:15 p.m. at Chicago Bears

Series: 60-56-2

Last matchup (road): Bears 16, Vikings 6 (2019)

Skinny: This game could have been a lot trickier for the Vikings if the Bears had addressed their quarterback situation differently in the offseason. Instead of bringing in Cam Newton or taking a risk in the draft, Chicago brought in Nick Foles to compete with Mitch Trubisky. Whichever mediocre Chicago signal caller wins the job, they will not be able to generate enough offense to beat Minnesota on Monday Night Football.

Our pick: Win. 6-3.

 

Week 11, Sunday, Nov. 22, 3:25 p.m. vs. Dallas Cowboys

Series: 15-16

Last matchup: Vikings 28, Cowboys 24 (2019)

Skinny: This game came down to the wire in 2019 and will probably be a close one again in 2020. With some holes on defense and the loss of Travis Frederick on the offensive line, Dallas will not be a complete team, but their offensive threats of Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb should be a nightmare for NFL defenses, including Minnesota’s. The Cowboys find a way to outscore the Vikings and get revenge from last year.

Our pick: Loss. 6-4.

 

Week 12, Sunday, Nov. 29, 12 p.m. vs. Carolina Panthers

Series: 8-6

Last matchup: Panthers 31, Vikings 24 (2017)

Skinny: Teddy Bridgewater’s return to Minnesota will not be a good one. The former Vikings quarterback will likely be trailing most of the game as the Vikings march up and down the field on Carolina’s porous defense. Carolina could make things somewhat close late in the game by feeding the ball to its offensive weapons (mostly Christian McCaffrey), but it won’t be enough since Minnesota likely gets to 30 points in this one.

Our pick: Win. 7-4.

 

Week 13, Sunday, Dec. 6, 12 p.m. vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Series: 5-1

Last matchup: Vikings 25, Jaguars 16 (2016)

Skinny: This is a great time to play Jacksonville for the Vikings. By this point in the season, the Jaguars will probably have a bad record and head coach Doug Marrone may be on his last legs. Gardner Minshew could make some magic happen with wide receiver D.J. Chark, but ultimately, Minnesota will have much more to play for in this game and will get the win.

Our pick: Win. 8-4.

 

Week 14, Sunday, Dec. 13, 12 p.m. at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last matchup: Vikings 34, Buccaneers 17 (2017)

Series: 33-22

Skinny: The Vikings will get a second Florida team in a row, but this one has a much better quarterback. It seems like it is going to be tough to slow down Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and the rest of Tampa’s offense, but then again, Tampa Bay is still an unknown at this point. The Buccaneers’ defense is by no means elite and Minnesota should be able to keep the ball away from Brady and co. The Vikings get the win in Tampa and luck out that their road trip down south does not come early in the season.

Our pick: Win. 9-4.

 

Week 15, Sunday, Dec. 20, 12 p.m. vs. Chicago Bears

Last matchup (home): Bears 21, Vikings 19 (2019)

Series: 60-56-2

Skinny: The Vikings actually lost both games to Chicago in 2019, but in 2020 they will sweep the Bears. Again, it just seems really unlikely that Foles or Trubisky will be that great this season and, like Jacksonville, the Bears might not have anything to play for. It should be another defensive battle and Minnesota gets its second win over Chicago.

Our pick: Win. 10-4.

 

Week 16, Friday, Dec. 25, 3:30 p.m. at New Orleans Saints

Last matchup: Vikings 26, Saints 20 OT (2019 playoffs)

Series: 23-12

Skinny: Ho, ho, ho, the Vikings will get away from the snow and travel to the Big Easy on Christmas Day. This game will likely be critical in NFC playoff seeding and since Minnesota won in the Superdome in the playoffs, the Saints will be ready for revenge. Plus, its Drew Brees’ last year in the NFL, so this will be his last regular-season home game. Not the best Christmas gift in terms of timing for the Vikings.

Our pick: Loss. 10-5.

 

Week 17, Sunday, Jan. 3, 12 p.m. at Detroit Lions

Last matchup (road): Vikings 42, Lions 30 (2019)

Series: 76-39-2

Skinny: This game at Ford Field could be a battle for playoff positioning, or it could be completely meaningless to both teams. Either way, the Vikings overpower the Lions to improve their record by a game from last year and return to the playoffs for the second straight season.

Our pick: Win. 11-5.